Formaldehyde and Aldehyde Antimicrobials FAQ
Formaldehyde and Aldehyde Overview
As a class of antimicrobials, formaldehydes are known as reactive antimicrobials, in that their predominant mechanism of action for controlling microorganisms is to react with peptides and proteins. As this reaction progresses throughout an organism its biochemical processes become increasingly impaired and the organism dies. This mechanism makes aldehyde types of chemistries very potent for all types of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, algae and viruses. It also makes this type of chemistry problematic for use around human tissue. Very selective and stringent guidelines must be followed to manage the appropriate use of aldehyde chemistries.Given the efficacy and utility of these types of chemistry, manufacturers of aldehyde based antimicrobials have undertaken strategies to produce larger compounds, that when in the presence of water will break apart (hydrolyze) and release monomers of formaldehyde or aldehyde containing groups. These molecules can then provide the antimicrobial actions needed but avoiding some of the health, safety and stability issues with formulating the formaldehyde molecule.